National Police Chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo has offered the brother of a victim of the Kanjuruhan tragedy a spot in the police force.
On Saturday evening, over 100 people were killed in Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java after a soccer riot broke out following home team Arema’s defeat to arch rivals Persebaya. Police fired tear gas — which is banned by FIFA — to counter a pitch invasion by angry Arema supporters, reportedly resulting in widespread panic and a deadly stampede.
The official death toll of the tragedy stood at 174 at one point, but was revised down by the police to 125 yesterday evening, citing a miscount.
Listyo, along with East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawasa, Sports Minister Zainuddin Amali and PSSI (Indonesia Football Association) Chief Mochamad Iriawan, attended the wake for one of the deceased victims in Malang yesterday.
The police chief offered his condolences to the victim’s mother, before he turned to another one of her children.
“Would you like to join the police force?” Listyo asked him.
It’s unclear at this point whether or not he accepted Listyo’s offer.
While Listyo may have nobly intended to give the victim’s family some sense of security following the tragedy, it’s hard to imagine the offer as anything more than a slap in the face for those who just lost their beloved.
An official police investigation is underway and we can probably only fully attribute blame for the tragedy after the results are published, yet it’s abundantly clear by now that police officers at the stadium must shoulder at least some of the blame for the unnecessary deaths.
After all, reports say it was the tear gas that triggered the stampede. Witnesses also say that police fired tear gas indiscriminately — even into the stands, where children were in attendance — causing panic among those who did not take part in the pitch invasion and riots.
Police, for their part, justified firing tear gas inside the stadium as a last resort measure to counter the alleged crowd violence.